Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Rosemary's Baby review
Rosemary’s Baby is a story of satanic cults and worries of pregnancy. It follows Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse who move into their new apartment in a building that has a bad reputation. They meet an elderly couple who are neighbours who seem very friendly who invite them over for dinner after Rosemary makes friends with a girl they look after who commits suicide. Rosemary is not taken with the couple but Guy is very interested in Roman Castevet’s old stories which leads to strange events to occur in which Rosemary has a vision of being sexually assaulted by a beast and Guy beings to become distant. She finds out that she is pregnant but begins to fall into paranoia as she feels the neighbours are conspiring against her to use the baby for their satanic cult.
Ambiguity plays a large part in Rosemary’s Baby as the audience is never definitely given a full idea of what is happening within the film. This ambiguity is used well and keeps forcing the audience to question the decisions they make as to whether the neighbours are part of a satanic cult or is she just being delusional and paranoid. ‘a woman who believes herself impregnated by the Devil (in the guise of her husband), its main strength comes from Polanski's refusal to simplify matters: ambiguity is constant, in that we are never sure whether Farrow's paranoia about a witches' coven is grounded in reality or a figment of her frustrated imagination.’ (GA Rosemary’s Baby review timeout.com) This ambiguity continues until the very last few scenes of the film and this is due to such admirable performances from the actors. They all conform to their roles well as Farrow does well to play out the paranoia of Rosemary and Gordon and Blackmer put on equally good performances as the all too friendly neighbours.
Taking into social context Farrow’s personal life mirrors the struggle that Rosemary goes through in the way that the values are very male orientated. At the time of production Farrow was in a divorce battle with Sinatra over her partake in the film against his wishes. The film is brings forward the theme of sexist males in which Rosemary is sidelined while Guy concentrates on his acting career, and the males ignore Rosemary’s painful stomach trouble in which they shoo it off with information like it being perfectly normal for a woman of her size to experience pelvic pains. ‘with Rosemary's Baby, he and Farrow channeled that unease into a Hollywood movie that transformed the prototypical woman-in-peril suspenser into a treatise on the many ways soon-to-be mothers can feel spiritually abandoned during pregnancy—from doctors with suspect bedside manners, from husbands who grow distant and disinterested, and from a world that dismisses their fears as the by-product of raging hormones.’ (Grierson, Wednesday October 29 2008 villagevoice.com)
Farrow pulls off a very impressive performance in the film and in not only looking the part for Rosemary’s traumatic events but also for portraying her emotions so well, the audience can really empathise with her even though it can be questioned in her sanity because of her pain. Gordon also plays Ruth Castevet very well and portrays an seemingly friendly but nosey neighbour who constantly mumbles her words to make her sound very creepy. ‘Mia Farrow seems to grow more sickly and emaciated the more her stomach swells, but she is built for the part of Rosemary and her skillful progression from pain to puzzlement to panic goes far beyond mere looks. The film's most memorable performance, though, is turned in by Veteran Ruth Gordon as the coarse and cozily evil Minnie Castevet - sniffing for information like a questing rodent, forcing Rosemary to drink her satanic tonics of herbs, dispensing that old Black Magic that she knows so well in a voice that sounds like a crow with a cold.’ (Time Rosemary’s Baby review)
Rosemary’s Baby is a frightening film which revels in its ambiguity. The acting is first class which stops the film from becoming silly as we really start to empathise with Rosemary and the actors playing the cult are believable and freaky. Polanski really captures a sense of learned helplessness in the film as Rosemary succumbs to the cult in the end because she has gone through all the horrors but realises that she cannot escape from it, which we feel guilty for because we cannot stop it.
GA, Rosemary’s Baby review, http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/76955/rosemary-s_baby.html accessed on 7/12/10
Grierson, Wednesday October 29 2008 http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-10-29/film/rosemary-s-baby-turns-40/ accessed on 7/12/10
Time Rosemary’s Baby review http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,900239,00.html accessed on 8/12/10
Movie poster http://www.horrorlair.com/movies/images/rosemarys-baby.jpg accessed on 8/12/10
Still of Rosemary, Guy, Minnie and Roman http://www.bronxbanterblog.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/rosemarys-baby.jpg accessed on 8/12/10
Still of Rosemary http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_XVKeTa5_UMY/TE_ZeNvD4hI/AAAAAAAADeE/lum2x3DaVkI/s1600/rosemarys-baby.jpg accessed on 8/12/10